|The author, Dane F. Baylis|
Lets Twist The Topic Just A Bit
I'm Supposed To Share An Excerpt From One Of My Books But...
I'm still working on my first novel length work. So I'm going to throw up a section of this very rough first draft. I welcome comments and critiques.
Boogie’s voice came across the intercom channel, “Hey, Anonymous! You checked that ambient temperature lately.”
Up in the gun ring Smith shifted his focus from the terrain flashing by in his night vision display and glanced at the read outs on the top right corner of his goggles. Ninety one degrees Fahrenheit, wind direction southwest at 12 knots, time zero one thirty four local. Clearing his throat to activate the auto-mic, Smith said, “Uh huh, but it’s a dry heat, man.”
Through the hatch, the Major could just see the back right quadrant of Boogie’s helmet wobble as he shook his head, “That was bad, “A”, even for you!”
To those of them with any time at all in Cohort Security Systems the weather and terrain were all too familiar. Pushing heavily armored SUV’s through bone dry blackness using nothing more than dim blackout drive markers and the latest generation of night vision devices was second nature. Even on a wide expanse of superhighway where you thought you were safe the rule was hammer down.
The black top they rolled over and the low brown hills this took them between seemed to jealously hold on to the day’s heat. Since they’d pulled out of Scott Air Force Base there’d been nothing ahead in their line of travel or following on this side of the roadway, nor was there anything coming head-on on the east bound side. Left and right, as far as augmented vision reached, there was nothing but dark, tattered structures, abandoned farm implements and the skeletal remains of drought mummified trees. To the former residents these things had once represented their homes and occupations. Until the monotonous lack of rain and hot, dry wind had driven them away. To Smith and his men it was just a place that looked like so many other places that were only designated as hostile areas of operations.
Up ahead was the overpass that marked the junction of Route Sixty Four and the Two Fifty-Five and just before that was a derelict service plaza, its broken out windows and scavenged structure emblematic of the contractor’s relationship with the locals. When they first arrived the intent had been to purchase all their fuel and supplies on the local economy to help build rapport and good will. Utter scarcity and the piratical gouging that accompanied even the bargaining for the most meager of staples had necessitated shifting sources to the federals. After all, it was the federals that had arranged for their services, even if that too required an endless stream of negotiations to make things happen. But that's what the logistic types were paid for.
As the column roared past the crumbling buildings and trashed gas pumps something hung to the cyclone fencing caught Smith’s eye. It had the appearance of a small cheese round suspended by a coat hanger with wires trailing out from behind. His heart froze as he spun the armored shield on the gun ring toward that side of the road. Thumbing off the safety on the M2 machine gun he clung to, he screamed into the mic, “AMBUSH!”
No sooner did he get the word out then the muzzle flash from the first round out of the M2 lit up the darkness, this was instantly dwarfed by the nova from the platter charge on the fence as it detonated. In its turn this was lost in the fire ball that had been the fuel truck following behind Boogie and him. In that split second everything he’d been seeing was consumed by a sick green glare as his night vision device overloaded. He pawed the now useless goggles off his face just as the blast wave slammed into the back of the SUV and it began a slow fishtail and tilt to the left.
Boogie did his best steering into the skid but the lumbering bulk of the vehicle and the load it carried in armor, equipment and ordinance made it awkwardly top heavy. As it whipsawed back to the right he over corrected and this time it tipped slowly on to the two left tires and seemed to hang for an eternity before rolling all the way on to the driver’s side and sliding into the roadside ditch. Somewhere outside of the hum, buzz and ring that were hammering simultaneously in Smith’s head and ears, he heard Boogie’s muffled grunt over the intercom. The vehicle bucked violently as another explosion rocked it from beneath and the Major was ejected from the hatch to the edge of the pavement. Dazed, he lay where he’d landed and listened to the rattle of machine guns and small arms and wondered if his men were winning? Slowly, the adrenaline loosened its grip and he slid into blackness.
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Dane F. Baylis